David Galligan will direct the concerts, which will celebrate the work of Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim. Gerald Sternbach will be the musical director for the two performances.
The concerts will boast a special performance by "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, who will offer a tune from Merrily We Roll Along. As previously announced, the evenings will also feature the talents of Shaun and Patrick Cassidy.
Newcomers to the starry line-up include Len Cariou, Wilson Cruz, Tyne Daly, Nancy Dussault, Sally Ann Howes, Alice Ripley and Betty Garrett as well as Jamie Anderson, Ann Hampton Callaway, Carole Cook, Kevin Earley, Randy Graff, Ronobir Lahiri, Sean McDermott, Linda Michele, Michele Nicastro, Michael Nouri, Valarie Pettiford, Charlotte Rae, Cathy Rigby, Joan Ryan, Andrew Samonsky, Kevin Spirtas, KT Sullivan, Rip Taylor and Lisa Vroman.
Composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim has written a plethora of critically acclaimed, award-winning musicals, including A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, A Little Night Music, Into the Woods, Merrily We Roll Along, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park with George and Passion. He also contributed lyrics to West Side Story and Gypsy, and his newest musical, Bounce, played Chicago and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His revised productions of The Frogs and Pacific Overtures were on Broadway stages in 2004, and the Roundabout's staging of Assassins won five Tonys, including one for Best Revival of a Musical. Last season featured an acclaimed revival of Sweeney Todd directed by John Doyle; this season includes Doyle's revival of Company. Sondheim was also celebrated at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in summer 2002 with all-star stagings of six of his musicals — Company, Sweeney, Merrily, Night Music, Sunday and Passion.
The first S.T.A.G.E. benefit took place in October 1984, honoring the music of Leonard Bernstein. Subsequent presentations have paid tribute to Stephen Sondheim (1985, 1987, 1996), Jule Styne (1988), Jerry Herman (1989), John Kander and Fred Ebb (1990), Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein (1991), Irving Berlin (1992), George and Ira Gershwin (1993), Harold Arlen (1995), Cole Porter (1997), Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe and Burton Lane (1998), Richard Adler, Jerry Bock and Cy Coleman (1999), Charles Strouse, Arthur Schwartz and Stephen Schwartz (2000), Jerome Kern (2001), Johnny Mercer (2002), Frank Loesser (2003), Andrew Lloyd Webber (2004), Marvin Hamlisch and Harry Warren (2005) and Betty Comden and Adolph Green (2006). The S.T.A.G.E. concerts are the longest continuously running AIDS benefit in the world. Proceeds from this year’s event will go to AIDS Project Los Angeles.
The Wilshire Theatre is located in Beverly Hills, CA, at 8440 Wilshire Blvd. For ticket information call (323) 656-9069 or visit www.stagela.com.